Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Landscape of Living

Fingers Cave,
the art of Carl Warner

"The body becomes the landscape" when,
footsteps going up and downstairs
remind the 40 year old woman
of when she was four 
and she dreaded the sound 
of her stepfather's feet,
coming and going, stealthily,
after dark,
to her prey,
daughter, collateral damage
of the home invasion.

The body becomes the landscape
of the brutal gang rape
at fourteen,
which this same daughter
somehow survived,
but barely, 
spending her thirties
trying to find
the courage to heal.

The body becomes the landscape
when it swells, burns, and convulses
with nausea,
as the chemo drips into my son's arm
and he tells me
"I feel like an angel,
burning up from the inside."

My body, as a child, a teen, a young wife,
learned how to be
a distant landscape, 
disassociating, becoming numb
in order to endure,
and as the ice slowly thawed
around my heart, it hurt.
Oh, it hurt,
to come alive.

The landscape of old age
comes with a blessing:
the suffering, please God, is over.
The gift of twenty-four thousand,
four hundred fifty-five 
sunrises and sunsets
has been given.
This aged body, 
which has cried so many tears,
cackled so loudly,
and carried so many heavy burdens,
can rest, now, and remember
all the landscape
it has traveled through
to reach the portal just ahead,
around the next corner
on the path.

Then my spirit will leave 
this landscape
for another,
where I will travel
all across the galaxies
with a big black wolf,
and we will both
become beings of light.

For Kim's prompt at Verse First: to take inspiration from the poet Meridel LeSueur, who spoke the quote "the body becomes the landscape", as well as the art of  Carl Warner.


  1. Wow! I feel these places, and the yearning for a penultimate landscape of rest, one in which you could romp with the wolf for a while this side of heaven.

  2. i have to tell you, this poem is special. the build up is just that, a journey to the incredible wolfy ending.

  3. So many emotions here, so tragic and then so beautiful, very moving.

  4. Powerful, heart wrenching poem but I love how it ends with the wolf.

  5. Oh, this poem breaks my heart, Sherry. You have been through so much.....walked such a difficult path. I hope you find blessings in this world again...keep your mind and heart open. There is still time, really there is.

  6. This is so wonderful... one of my favorites of yours, Sherry. It also makes me sad. I hope all is well with you.

  7. Life can be bittersweet when we're older than a Beatles song. I hope you aren't truly ready to leave us, though, Sherry. You and I aren't terribly old yet, even though we feel that way much of the time.
    Luv, K

  8. Such emotion, beautiful yet sad. I too hope all is well in your world. Thank you for sharing this powerful and moving piece with us all.

  9. As time passes our body withers but emotions become strong.

  10. each word in the lines speak of that incredible moving, beautiful, sad and not without humor...hope all is well with you...God bless

  11. so sad at points...but hopeful living beyond what has happened to us...what a hard story...the disassociating from our bodies as well...that wrenches....

  12. Hard to read-in places, but this is the shadows in the valley of the landscape and sadly many know them~ Hope does help us overcome....
    It is beautiful, sad and haunting, but necessary and so well done~ @>--------------

  13. Ouch, not every landscape is full of flowers is it? What a build up of an avalanche of pain. Masterfully done, Sherry

  14. POWER! And acceptance. And honesty. And evolution. All in a body. Beautiful.

  15. i deeply admire this pen, Sherry. gave me goosebumps ~

  16. Some verses are very sad but like the way you ended it with freedom and light.

  17. Heart wrenching and yet the body finds courage to move on, somehow, to find that landscape where the spirit will live forever. Very touching Sherry

  18. Love a wisdom of your journey, your 'landscapes'~ final lines about wolf - so amazing...

  19. this is such a heartbreaking, gripping, memorable read. i think, many times, our memories serve as a landscape as well!

    stacy lynn mar


I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!